Beyond Hybridity: A Feminist Political Economy of Timor-Leste’s Problematic Post-Conflict Peacebuilding


Johnston, Melissa Frances. 2017. “Beyond Hybridity: A Feminist Political Economy of Timor-Leste’s Problematic Post-Conflict Peacebuilding.” Paper presented at International Studies Association Annual Convention 2017, Baltimore, February 22-25.

Author: Melissa Frances Johnston


Hybrid theories of peacebuilding explain the problematic outcomes of intervention as a result of a hybrid between the aims and norms of ‘liberal’ internationals and ‘non-liberal’ locals. This paper critiques such theories via a case study of East Timor post-conflict peacebuilding. Using a feminist political economy approach, and drawing on extensive primary data, the paper argues that there are no discrete groups of ‘liberal’ interveners and ‘local’ subjects, or any hybrids thereof. Problematic results cannot be located in hybrid peacebuilding. Rather, it explains how an elite class coalition has risen to dominate the post-conflict East Timorese state relying on a highly gendered allocation of the country’s petroleum fund resources. This gendered access to resources has allowed the elite coalition to shore up materially exploitative patriarchal relations, strongest among the rural base, and to consolidate a fragile, yet historically resilient, socio-political coalition crucial to its rule.

Topics: Class, Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Regions: Oceania Countries: Timor-Leste

Year: 2017

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